Young Journalist Award

Welcome to our annual Young Journalist Award, a celebration of emerging journalistic talent.

Now in its seventh year, the Young Journalist Award – in partnership with the UK Foreign Press Association – is Thomson Foundation’s annual journalism competition dedicated to finding and inspiring ambitious journalists from across the globe. 

The award enables journalists aged 30 and under, from countries with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of less than $20,000, to send in their best stories.

Judges of the award look for stories that are revelatory, prompt public debate and have led to, or have the potential to lead to, positive change in society.

Trio of talent

This year's Young Journalist finalists are Meiryum Ali, Soch Videos, from Pakistan; Damilola Banjo, Sahara Reporter, Nigeria; and Sarita Santoshini, a freelancer from India. Read more about them here.

The finalists will be flown to London to spend two nights in the city and attend the gala award night at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel on November 25th, 2019, along with a host of other potential award winners and leading figures from the world of journalism.

For updates and announcements on the competition, follow us on Twitter (@thomfound) or sign up to our newsletter.



Latest content

  • Putting all people first: Meet the 12 shortlisted Young Journalist stars of tomorrow who mainstream marginalised voices and share difficult truths
  • Nothing but the truth: We shine the spotlight on the work of three Young Journalist winners from Russia, Syria and Sudan who show unprecedented resolve to defend media freedom 

I recommend that journalists under 30 apply for this incredible opportunity! It opened so many doors for me.

Yousra Elbagir, 2016 winner



Alisa Kustikova

Winner 2018

Alisa Kustikova, an investigative reporter from Russia, has won the 2018 Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award

Nigel Baker, chief executive of the Thomson Foundation said: "Alisa, operating in particularly difficult circumstances, showed particular investigative prowess and covered stories relevant to vulnerable citizens as well as exposing political violations. This was brave, impactful reporting.”  

Alisa showed particular investigative prowess. This was brave, impactful reporting.

Nigel Baker, CEO, Thomson Foundation





Waad Al Kateab

Special Recognition Award 2017

Much of Waad Al Kateab's reporting, broadcast on UK television’s Channel 4 News, was filmed in the emergency room of the Aleppo hospital where her husband, a doctor, worked.

Here she captured unimaginable suffering without intruding  a skill that takes seasoned journalists many years to master. It's this skill that was recognised by the Thomson Foundation, who presented the filmmaker with a special one-off award for Outstanding Coverage of a Continuing Story at the UK Foreign Press Association gala awards.

Her work has been seen by 500 million people. An incredible feat for someone who literally picked up a camera and taught herself.

Jon Snow, presenter, Channel 4 News





Mariana Motrunych

Winner 2017

Exposing potential corruption was the theme of Mariana Motrunych’s reports. She ‘doorsteps’ the Commission’s head, who arrives to work in a shiny new Mercedes, to try and establish his sources of income. In another story, she examines the Ministry of Internal Affairs' practice of giving ‘award weapons’, including machine pistols and rifles, to people outside of government, including journalists.

Corruption costs a lot for all citizens of Ukraine so [international] attention is very important for me.

Mariana Motrunych, Ukraine



Yousra Elbagir

Winner 2016

The Nuba Mountains in the southern Sudanese region has been subjected to a bloody counter-insurgency campaign since fighting broke out in 2011. Yousra Elbagir, a reporter from Sudan, chose to cover the story through the eyes of displaced Nuba in the capital haunted by the bombs raining down in their homeland and struggling to preserve their cultural identity.

It means a lot to the people in my country to have someone represent them who isn't a foreign journalist.

Yousra Elbagir, Sudan



Caroline Ariba

Winner 2015

Caroline Ariba’s submissions for the award included a harrowing description of the plight of mothers in Tisai, a little known Island in Uganda’s Eastern district of Kumi. In this story, Caroline revealed how neglected its people were and how many babies died there without record of their existence. After uncovering the story, political leaders decided to speed up plans for a bridge link to the mainland.

Recognition at this level means everything and the experience of the trip has opened up doors.

Caroline Ariba, Uganda



Maurice Oniang'o

Winner 2014

Always producing with passion, Thomson Foundation's 2014 award-winning documentary filmmaker, Maurice Oniang’o, submitted a portfolio of stories which included a film on child soldiers who guard their village from Ethiopian raiders. In his latest work, he addresses the problem of domestic violence against women in African countries.

The award is encouragement that your effort to bring change in society has received recognition.

Maurice Oniang'o, Kenya



Judy Kosgei

Winner 2013

Words have an incredible power to move us, and as a result, effective storytelling can change society. Judy Kosgei produced a winning story in 2013 on the impact a shortage of sanitary towels was having on up to two million schoolgirls. The story has since brought about a change in the law in Kenya. All Kenyan schoolgirls will now get "free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels", the government has said.

The Young Journalist Award reaffirmed that little voice in my head that said changing lives begins with me.

Judy Kosgei, Kenya





FPA Awards

Watch our 2015 Young Journalist finalists as they attend the FPA Awards in London, along with a host of other award winners and leading figures from the world of journalism.



Call for entries

Journalists working in the developing world are invited to succeed Russian investigative reporter, Alisa Kustikova, as the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award winner. If you are a journalist aged 30 and under working in a country with a Gross National Income (GNI) of less than $20,000, you are eligible to enter the award.

*This competition is now closed* 

For further information on the competition, email

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